REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)

Outside the Wire Image
‘Outside the Wire,’ — Photo: Jonathan Prime / Netflix.

Directed by Mikael Håfström — Screenplay by Rob Yescombe & Rowan Athale.

In 2020, Netflix found some success by placing a Marvel star in a fast-paced action movie with a somewhat forgettable plot with the Chris Hemsworth-led Extraction, which I liked. Now, in 2021, Netflix is hoping that they can do the same thing again with Outside the Wire, a science fiction action film starring Anthony Mackie, from the director of the John Cusack-led 1408, which I actually also like quite a bit. Unfortunately, Outside the Wire is nowhere near as effective of an action film as Extraction was, and they forgot to make it as fast-paced as the aforementioned film. Instead, we’re left with a serviceable but incredibly forgettable and generic science fiction flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)”

Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Dec. ’20: ‘Unhinged,’ ‘The Good Traitor,’ and ‘Equinox’

Vores Mand i Amerika Still Image
‘Vores Mand i Amerika,’ Still Image — Photo: Katalin Vermes / Nimbus Film.

In the first-ever monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at a solid Danish film from 2020, I tell you whether or not you should watch the new Danish television series that was released on Netflix on New Year’s Eve, and I also finally tell you what I think about the Russell Crowe starring vehicle Unhinged. Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Dec. ’20: ‘Unhinged,’ ‘The Good Traitor,’ and ‘Equinox’”

REVIEW: The Midnight Sky (2020)

The Midnight Sky, Still Image
‘The Midnight Sky,’ Still Image — Photo: Philippe Antonello / Netflix.

Directed by George Clooney — Screenplay by Mark L. Smith.

I don’t think I have a favorite genre, per se, but, it is true that I usually am a sucker for science-fiction. It is probably the genre that I find the most interesting, and, whenever a new film is on its way, I do get excited about what new ambitious story is about to be told. George Clooney is no stranger to science-fiction and space films since he has appeared in films such as Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, and, possibly most memorably, Alfonso Cuarón’s incredible Gravity. Due to Clooney’s own experience with the genre, I was very interested in seeing what kind of story he had planned to tell with The Midnight Sky, which he both starred in and directed. Unfortunately, it ended up being a bit of a disappointment, for me. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Midnight Sky (2020)”

REVIEW: We Can Be Heroes (2020)

We Can Be Heroes Still Image
‘We Can Be Heroes,’ Still Image — Photo: Ryan Green / Netflix.

Directed by Robert Rodríguez — Screenplay by Robert Rodríguez.

Robert Rodríquez’ We Can Be Heroes is a sequel to his 2005 family adventure film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D. His 2020 standalone sequel tells the story of how after the superhero team ‘The Heroics’ — this universe’s Avengers — fail to prevent an alien attack, their children, who almost all exhibit X-Men like superpowers, must work together to find a way to save their parents and the entire world from the invading extraterrestrials. Continue reading “REVIEW: We Can Be Heroes (2020)”

REVIEW: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

Still Image Boseman Ma Rainey
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ Still Image — Photo: David Lee / Netflix.

Directed by George C. Wolfe — Screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Based on the August Wilson play of the same name, George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom primarily takes place in a recording studio in Chicago back in the 1920s. Here Ma Rainey (played by Viola Davis), lovingly dubbed the ‘Mother of the Blues,’ is planning to record several songs with her band. Rainey arrives fashionably late and is ready and able to throw her weight around, whereas the ambitious, animated, and flirty Levee (played by Chadwick Boseman), a young and talented trumpeter, is preparing his next move towards stardom while practicing with the rest of the band. While Rainey battles with both her manager and a producer for the purpose of having some control of her own career, Levee’s ambitious attitude doesn’t sit right with Ma or his bandmates (played by Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts). Continue reading “REVIEW: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)”

REVIEW: Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

Hillbilly Elegy - Still Image - Lacey Terrell - Netflix
‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ Still Image — Photo by Lacey Terrell / Netflix.

Directed by Ron Howard — Screenplay by Vanessa Taylor.

Though it was once touted as a huge player at the upcoming Academy Awards, the overall critical reception of Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy has been surprisingly negative. What was once looked upon as the film that might finally be the vehicle that would give Amy Adams and Glenn Close the Oscars that their careers most definitely deserve, now looks like a surprisingly unengaging piece of Oscar-bait, which is a term that refers to films that give off the impression that they were made only to be nominated for Oscars. However, while I do think one performance is good enough to earn praise at awards ceremonies, the film as a whole is not memorable or good enough to leave a lasting impression. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hillbilly Elegy (2020)”

Overview: November 2020

Overview provides my readers with a brief overview of the articles or reviews that I have written, as well as additional bite-sized thoughts on films or shows about which I do not intend to write thorough reviews. In November 2020, among other things, I wrote about Danish television and the highly anticipated Danish black-comedy Retfærdighedens Ryttere.

Continue reading “Overview: November 2020”

REVIEW: His House (2020)

Film Poster His House
Release Poster – Netflix

Directed by Remi Weekes — Screenplay by Remi Weekes — Story by Felicity Evans & Toby Venables.

Every once in a while, you find yourself watching a feature-length debut that knocks you sideways and reminds you of just how magical debut films can be. Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow was that kind of film and I think that Remi Weekes’ feature-length debut film, His House, is equally good. Weekes’ film has been released very close to Halloween 2020, and, even though the subject matter is not a classic horror story, the film is designed to fit into a classic horror movie subgenre. This is a brilliant haunted house flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: His House (2020)”

REVIEW: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Trial of the Chicago 7 Film Poster
Release Poster – Netflix

Written and Directed by Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) — Distributed by Netflix.

Back in July 2020, news broke that Netflix had acquired the distribution rights to this Aaron Sorkin legal drama following negotiations with Paramount Pictures. The global COVID-19 pandemic had made it difficult for Paramount to live up to the promise of a wide theatrical release this year especially since it was, reportedly, important for the filmmakers to have their film released to the public prior to the 2020 United States Presidential Election in November. Netflix provided them with a feasible and acceptable way out. The Trial of the Chicago 7 has now been released globally on the popular streaming service, thus giving Americans a chance to watch this drama before casting their vote. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)”

REVIEW: Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020 – Documentary)

Dick Johnson Documentary Poster
Release Poster – Netflix

Directed by Kirsten Johnson — Distributed by Netflix.

A couple of years ago, I saw Martin Scorsese’s documentary short film Italianamerican, which is basically a very personal documentary wherein the filmmaker films his parents, has them tell their life stories, and even reveal their best recipes. Since I first saw Italianamerican, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about the best way to celebrate your parents in the documentary format. This made me very interested in Kirsten Johnson’s documentary about her father, Dick Johnson is Dead, but when I sat down to watch her documentary, I was slightly trepidatious about what film I was about to watch. The title is obviously ominous, but the poster looks more like a comedy than anything else. I eventually came to realize that Kirsten Johnson’s documentary was the total package. Dick Johnson Is Dead is one of the best documentaries of the year. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020 – Documentary)”